We went to see 'Pedal Pusher', a play performed by Theatre Delicatessen in an interesting venue on Regent Street.
In an old disused building, Theatre Delicatessen have set up shop, and we are transported to the Tour de France of the late 20th Century - to the slopes of Alpe d'Huez and Mont Ventoux.
The play is about being a top class athlete, and issues surrounding both doping, and the problems with the suspicion of doping. Autobiographies, news reports and so forth were used as source material, with lines quoted - so the Lance Armstrong character says when asked what he's on says: "I'm on my bike for six hours a day, what are you on?"
During the play, the audience move around the actors, and vice versa. If you choose to sit in the wrong place you may need to move - like the real Tour! (Note, there is an area reserved for the audience, so if moving in a hurry is difficult, go there).
The play looks at the main characters of Marco Pantini, Jan Ullrich and Lance Armstrong as they struggle for supremacy.
For a show covering several tours, one might expect the director to have thought about cycling - but no bicycles are used (though the audience can bring bicycles into the venue). Instead, the cycling is portrayed in a variety of ways (of varying effectiveness). Often chairs were used, with the actors standing on the chair pretending to pedal (it works much better than this description suggests!)
One of the most effective sequences was in describing a long stage on the tour, the actors metronomically counted out the kilometres, whilst over the top they monologued the action - it worked well, especially as the end of the stage drew near and the pace quickened.
It's only on for a few more days, and tickets are in short supply. However, if you can go, do. It's a good evening's entertainment - and they've already added one more performance, so you never know - if demand is high..... !
As I write (30th July, 2009), there are seven tickets left. There are still a few months to reward my cycling efforts with a donation to Leukaemia Research, though (I did the London Bikeathon Challenge Ride the other week).